Chancel Repair Liability is Fun
After a decade a law has been passed, this is still a problem, unbelievable! I have found myself, in a bit of middle ground because the location where i am purchasing a property is classed as unparished, so therefore no chancel reliability. however my conveyancer said there is low chance, since the property has not been sold after 2013, technically im the second owner since it was built in the 60's. I can't find any information in the national archives and where i have found information it is not part of the property district. I have not found any information on the surrounding church showing interest in the property. I was planning to ask the neighbours from that aerea it might give me some info. sorry this is by no means in answering anyones question, i just wanted to share my journey. and point out this is still causing issues for buyers!
Fascinating! Ten years later they're still selling this insurance? As the disclaimers above say, I'm no lawyer, but... huh!
I keep saying "I'm no lawyer", but maybe it's about time I put some lawyer quotes in here. This 2013 article by Reed Smith seems like an excellent almost-clear-English source; key quote:
From 13 October 2013 if no chancel repair liability has been registered, the existing owner can still have chancel repair liability, but once the property has been sold (for value) and registered at the Land Registry after 12 October 2013, it will be free of chancel repair liability. What this means in transactions is that chancel repair liability will no longer need to be investigated.
Where a chancel repair liability is registered at the Land Registry, that liability will always affect the property and all transactions involving the property in the future.
As I mentioned in an earlier comment, my layman's understanding of this is therefore that the only risk to you is between your conveyancer performing a search, and your purchase being registered with the land registry - usually a period of a few weeks.
Theoretically, a church could still register a claim in that time, but given the number of properties this supposedly affects, and that reportedly the church made a big effort to get everything registered by 2013, you'd have to be incredibly unlucky, and buying a house called "Glebe Farm" that's next to a delapidated church that just happens to be looking at how to fund repairs.
Even at its worst this only ever affected the 5,200 churches built before Henry VIII sold the land in 1536.
I guess technically the insurance is still warranted for any sale, but given the ridiculously low prices I was quoted 14 years ago to cover the 3 years 2010-2013, for the risk of churches who were actively looking for everything they could find, I would hope that 3 months cover would be even cheaper today? If anyone has figures, I'd be interested to hear!
Depends if they're saying it is a potential liability, or a registered liability. Your solicitor will be able to tell you that.
If it's a potential liability then as far as I know when you complete the church can no longer register a liability and you're home free.
On the other hand if it's a registered liability, that means your local church has gone and registered the liability at some point in the past few years - unless there's transferable insurance in place, or you can get some sort of insurance at a reasonable price to cover you, then yes, I also would be concerned.
That said, your vendors will have to tackle this one way or another, so it puts you in a very strong position for forcing them to drop the price and/or pay the cost of insuring.
Either way, talk to your solicitor about it - they'll know the details of the case and the laws.
I really feel for you - buying a house is an absolute nightmare at the best of times. Hope it works out!
After reading the whole article and thread of comments, I must confess I’m even more confused and seriously thinking to pull out of a property I’m buying as the title search has come up with a defect - chancel repairs liability!!
One question though, my purchase will be second purchase for valuable consideration since 2013. Does this mean no risk in this instance?
If the seller provided it, I'm guessing it's the result of the chancel check they did when they were buying their property before 2013. I believe sellers are obliged to disclose everything they know before the sale completes.
Just because there was a potential chancel repair liability in 2013 doesn't mean one has been registered then or since. It's your solicitor/conveyancer's job to find out. If the local church has registered an interest, that will have been registered with the land registry and is absolutely the sort of thing that your legal team is supposed to find as part of the standard searches.
I'm not a lawyer though, so really the best thing to do is flag it with your solicitor, in writing/by email, and say that you're concerned, that you want them to confirm that no liability has been registered, and explain any risks this issue may still present to you.
Confused. It's 2019. So 2013 has long gone. I want to buy a property. the seller has provided a 'chancel' search. It says
'The above address is located within the historical boundary of a tithe district within a parish which continues to have a potential chancel repair liability based upon historical parish boundary data and the relevant Inland Revenue Indices held by The National Archives'.
Doesn't say which tithe district.
You say, 'as long as you're buying the property after October 2013, and as long as there is no interest registered with the land registry, there is no risk of chancel repair liability, and therefore no need to buy insurance.
How do I know if the church has registered a liability?
They're still trying to sell you insurance? The law changed in 2013 to prevent new registrations, so my understanding is that as long as you're buying the property after October 2013, and as long as there is no interest registered with the land registry, there is no risk of chancel repair liability, and therefore no need to buy insurance.
I am not a lawyer, so check with yours to clarify what the situation is today. If you find out, please get back here and let us know.
After reading all rhis comments, i am even more confused on whether to take the solicitor advisor of taking on the insurance or going for the fridge. My annoying question is, if i take pit this insurance in perpetuity, what happens if the insurance provider goes buster in 2 years time? Do i get another provider?
As a way to draw this post to a close, we have now just moved again, without any chancel liability being registered on our house. Alas, the fridge didn't make it.
I'm not in any way qualified to comment on this, but that's my reading of the situation too - my layman's interpretation of the law is that once the property has been sold after October 2013 without an interest being registered, you're fine. Arguably if the church has been actively raising funds recently, but hasn't registered an interest before October 2013, then they're probably not going to do so in the next few weeks...
I wouldn't be too suspicious about the lack of chancel liability insurance - it only started to become a thing from 2003 onwards, so I'd guess it's not unusual for people sat in properties for a while to not have heard of it. To me, the fact that they haven't heard of it speaks volumes to the true risk.
TBH I was a bit surprised to hear they're still doing the checks, but I guess it's mostly to see if an interest has been registered? Or are they still using it to try to sell insurance for the period between the check and completion? "Oh no, our insurance business model has been destroyed by government legislation - never mind, we'll just keep selling the same thing 2 years later." That's pretty ballsy.
That said I'm not a lawyer, so really I have no idea what I'm talking about. It's your decision, but I'd suggest that you speak with the solicitor doing your conveyancing to get a more up-to-date understanding of the situation - it would be interesting to hear if you find anything out though!
I'm buying a house and have just got a ChancelCheck report from our conveyancer that advises the property is within a parish that continues to have a potential chancel repair liability.
I've spoken to the seller who has owned the property for 22 years and had no idea about the above and as such has not taken any insurance out.
As I understand it, if an interest has not already been registered then it still could happen up until completion...after that time we would no longer be liable for CRL and could go on to sell the house on worry free in the future?
If an interest has already been registered would I have been informed already? There is also the possibility that the seller could be telling porkie pies.
I am so confused!
There is an church within a mile or two that dates back to 14th century and is assesed for repairs every 5 years where funds are raised by parishioners "money raising efforts".
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Chancel Repair Liability is Fun
Bumpy: that really sucks. I'd talk to a solicitor about what to do next - I like the sound of option 3, but have no idea if it would work in the eyes of the law. If the value of the land really has dropped as a result of this though, it may be worth talking with an accountant to see if he can use the loss to reduce your tax liability.
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Chancel Repair Liability is Fun
I have a very small plot of land which I have owned since 2002 and for which there may be a minor chance of getting planning permission many years from now. The Land Registry have now written to say that the Church have registered a CRL against the deeds. (NOT A CLAIM FOR MONEY).
The land is now blighted and I am resigned to loosing most, if not all, of its current value, but I would still like to hold on to it for my young grandchildren. Getting insurance now is just about impossible. So are there any ways of isolating myself from the churches greedy clutches.
Suggestions so far include. (1) Keep selling the land for £1 between friends and stay one step ahead of the church, who might get fed up chasing the claim and move elsewhere. (2) Sell the land for £1 to the poorest person I know. (3) Sell the land into a Limited Private Company, where it becomes the only asset. In this way, the most the church can get at is the value of the Company (land), which thanks to them is zero.
Bearing in mind I am not a lawer, my understanding of the situation is that from now on the church has to have registered an interest with the land registry before you buy the property.
Until the property is sold, they can still register an interest - but that would show up on the land registry before the sale is completed, and I'd imagine that it's the solicitor's responsibility to notice that and advise you accordingly.
I think this should mean that there is no longer the possibility of a potential liability - there's either a liability registered on the land registry, or there isn't. The law change should mean that the ambiguity has gone - there's no longer a question of whether your property is on glebe land, and no longer a reason to trawl through ancient manuscripts in the national archives at Kew.
So given that the chancel liability insurance is to cover any potential liability, and there can no longer be a potential liability, I'm thinking that you'd now be buying insurance for something that can never happen.
I would be curious about what happens if the liability is registered between your solicitor doing their initial searches and you exchanging contracts. No idea what would happen there, although I'd imagine it would probably involve suing the seller for not disclosing that information during the process.
Ultimately though your solicitor really should be aware that the situation has changed, and should be able to explain to you why you still need liability insurance. If they can't explain it, either they need to go away and find out, or you need to find a better solicitor. If anyone has received any actual legal advice, please post what you've heard - it would be nice to finally conclude my article!